There are women who are in toxic relationships, and they don’t know it. What is considered to be toxic behaviour is normal to these women usually because they grew up with toxic behaviour at a young age. They decided that it was normal behaviour because an adult or adults around them displayed that toxic behaviour often.
That was my story as a child. I was exposed to violence at a very young age. As I got older, a part of me knew that the violence was wrong, but because I had been exposed to the violence so frequently as a child, a part of me also believed that the violence was normal.
It wasn’t until I began my emotional healing journey as an adult, that I began to understand how the toxic relationships and experiences I had as a child had negatively influenced me throughout my life.
I learned that even though I knew and understood what a healthy relationship consisted of, I was naturally drawn towards toxic males who were no good for me. I had beliefs that I wasn’t aware of that said their toxic behaviour towards me was acceptable. I would usually ignore the warning signs that someone was no good for me and tolerate his behaviour, especially when I decided that I really wanted to have him in my life.
So, how do you know if you’re in a toxic relationship?
Please keep in mind that a toxic relationship is not only with a partner, spouse, or significant other. It can be with a parent, friend, family member, colleague, and acquaintance too.
Here are five warning signs that indicate you’re involved in a toxic relationship:
There is hostility between you and the other person
If hostility exists between you and the other person, your relationship is toxic. Please don’t try to trick yourself with this one. Hostility can be felt even when it is subtle. Hostile energy is undeniable even if you have been ignoring it up until this point.
Hostility can be expressed in the way the person looks at you. You can hear it in the tone of the person’s voice when he or she speaks to you. It can be seen in the way the person treats you (even if it is subtle).
In other cases, the hostility is very obvious. It may be expressed in name-calling, belittling comments, bullying, and other forms of abuse.
You may know deep down in your heart that this person doesn’t like you because you can feel it, even if you’re reluctant to admit to yourself. You may be making excuses for this person’s mean behaviour towards you, but the way this person treats you says it all. Even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself.
You know deep down that this behaviour is not okay because you can feel it deeply inside you. It doesn’t feel okay to you. It doesn’t feel right to you.
It is important to understand that if you’re accepting this behaviour, you have beliefs in your mind that say it’s okay for you to be treated poorly. It is very important to understand this part of yourself because this side of you says for specific reasons (usually reasons you’re not aware of), it is okay for you to be in a toxic relationship with a hostile person.
These reasons are so powerful that they are keeping you in a relationship where you’re not feeling safe, loved, and accepted. Maybe it’s because you’re married. Maybe it’s because this person is family. Maybe it’s because you’ve known this person for years. Maybe it’s because this person controls your paycheque.
Whatever the reasons are, you need to understand this part of you and heal this part of you in order to evolve into a woman who doesn’t accept less than she deserves from anyone.
You always make sacrifices to keep him or her happy
Healthy relationships sometimes require compromise by both sides to reach mutual agreements. Toxic relationships are completely different. The compromise is usually one-sided. One person is constantly giving while the other person constantly takes.
If you’re the one constantly giving, you’re usually ignoring your needs, desires, and standards in order to make the other person happy even if it doesn’t feel right to you. You may have standards you uphold in other relationships, but in this toxic relationship, you accept less than what you deserve. This can be knowingly or unknowingly.
You lower your standards and accept whatever this person gives you even if it feels wrong to you. You usually say yes to whatever this person wants by bending over backward, going the extra mile, and sacrificing your comfort, self-respect, needs, desires, standards, and boundaries in the process.
Excessive people-pleasing is a sign of insecurity of some sort. Having insecurities is nothing to be ashamed of. Many women (and men) struggle with insecurities whether they are aware of these insecurities or not. When it comes to excessive people-pleasing, your insecurities may be the result of believing you’re not enough, you’re not lovable, or you’re not deserving and you have to prove to people that you are.
These beliefs can cause you so much pain and harm because then you sacrifice so much of yourself to please others and to make other people happy with you. You fear disapproval, rejection, and abandonment from people who probably shouldn’t be in your life to begin with.
In romance, you fear being alone more than you fear living a life of unhappiness as result of staying in a toxic relationship. A toxic relationship is better than no relationship in your mind, so you’re investing your time, energy, and love in the wrong person. You give and give and give to someone who only takes and takes and takes. The sad part is the taker is usually unwilling to give to you in the ways that you have given to him or her, and you end up feeling bitter, resentful, and cheated.
Whether it is a marriage, a romantic relationship, a professional relationship, or a friendship, you deserve to be treated well. You deserve to feel safe, respected, and loved (in professional relationships love doesn’t usually apply, but you do deserve to feel safe and respected by your employer, employee, and colleagues).
There is no trust in your relationship
If there is no trust in a relationship, that lack of trust can be the source of a lot of problems. That lack of trust can show up in many ways: checking text messages for fear of cheating; micro-management in the work environment; and constant arguments because you don’t trust the other person.
Even though you know you don’t trust this person – and experience has shown you that this person isn’t trustworthy – you are 100% loyal to him or her by maintaining a ride-or-die attitude towards your relationship with this person.
There may be times when you allow yourself to see all the ways this person is no good for you, but you’re loyal to him or her regardless. Even when your loyalty to this person makes you unhappy.
Trust in a relationship is very important. Trust or distrust can change the nature of a relationship.
No trust is like a poison silently seeping through the relationship and destroying any potential for a healthy relationship.
Trust in a relationship is like a blooming flower. As it blossoms, it becomes more and more beautiful. In a relationship with mutual trust, there is healthier communication because you know the person is honest with you, and you can be honest with him or her. You feel free and safe to be yourself, and you know the other person is being authentic with you too. Your mind is more at ease because you can feel the solid foundation of trust that you have in your relationship. And, that trust will enhance the beauty of your relationship in many ways.
If you don’t trust this person, ask yourself why. It’s important to know if it’s because of the insecurities you have from your past experiences, or if it’s because of something this person has personally done to you.
The person diminishes your self-worth
Does this person do or say things to make you feel worthless? This is toxic behaviour in any relationship.
You may not be willing to admit to yourself that you’re involved in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. Even if you want to close your eyes to ignore the truth, it is hard to deny how this person makes you feel. If this person consistently makes you feel bad about yourself by what he or she says or does to you, it is a toxic relationship.
I have learned from reflection about the toxic relationships that I have been exposed to that anyone who deliberately goes out of his or her way to make me feel bad about myself doesn’t like me never mind loves me. And when a person goes out of his or her way to try and make me feel bad, what I am seeing is a glimpse of the dislike that he or she has been deliberately hiding from me at other times in our relationship.
Anyone who goes out of his or her way to hurt you or to make you feel pain is showing you the evidence of the dislike they have for you in their hearts. NO EXCEPTIONS.
You are worthy of love and respect. Any person who does not show you love or respect should not be a priority for you. It happens so often where a woman has someone who mistreats her up on a pedestal, and she invests so much of her time, energy, and love into this person. She works so hard to prove to this person that she is worthy of his or her love, respect, and consideration when that person doesn’t even appreciate her and shows her that through words and actions..
So many women try so hard to make a relationship work, even if the relationship is not to their liking, or it makes them unhappy. So many women shed tears for people who are the source of their pain, and it needs to stop.
Stop investing your time, love, and energy into people who do not appreciate it and who constantly show you that they don’t care about you through their actions and words.
You’re worthy of love and respect. You’re worthy of having the healthy relationships you dream of. Until you believe this, you will continue to settle for less than what you deserve by putting up with people who don’t love, respect, or appreciate you.
You feel unhappy with the way you’re being treated
Your emotions speak volumes. If you don’t feel good about the way this person treats you, and you have expressed your concerns to this person and nothing has changed, that is a clear sign that something is wrong in your relationship.
Stop putting on blinders to ignore the way the person makes you feel or doesn’t make you feel.
Some women will accept being unhappy or feeling bad because they prefer not to be alone. So, day in and day out, they cry and they hurt instead. They may not label their relationship as being toxic because they’re not familiar with the term, but they do know they feel bad, and that it is not okay.
You can’t unlearn what you have learned here today. If you want to be happy and have healthy relationships where you feel loved, safe, and respected, you can’t ignore how badly you feel in this toxic relationship forever. Do you want to continue to feel unhappy?
If you want a change, you have to change your current beliefs that don’t support you in having the healthy relationships you deeply desire. If you don’t change, you risk staying in the same unhappy place that you’re currently in. Do you want to be in the exact same place a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now?
If your answer is no, take some time to reflect on what you do desire in your relationships. Knowing what you do desire, is one of the first steps to begin creating the healthy relationships you deserve.
Lots of love,
Emotional Healing Coach
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